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Volume VIII - The Art of Being

The Privilege of Being Human

Chapter XXIX

The Quran says, 'Man is cruel and man is foolish.' He is cruel because he is harmful at each move he makes throughout life, and he is foolish because he does not know his true benefit.

Whatever you wish to obtain, live only for that, think only of that. If you wish to be rich, think only of riches, be with rich people, be always playing with money: then you will certainly be rich. But if, when you have ten pounds, you think you want a diner party, and a theatre party and a new dress, you cannot be rich. If you want fame and think only of fame; work and praise and flatter, think only how your name and fame may come out.

Man does not know what he really wants, what his true benefit is. Sometimes he thinks that satisfying the senses is his benefit; sometimes he thinks that material comforts are his benefit; sometimes he thinks that fame or money will satisfy him. His true benefit is to be independent of all these momentary satisfactions, but great renunciation is needed for this. He must renounce even what is necessary for life, as food, sleep, praise and attention. Then he sees, 'I can live without this, I can live without what is needed for life.' Then comes the realization that he is not a physical being but a higher being, and by this realization he is liberated and exalted.

Resignation to the will of God is the highest stage. A person must first work with the idea of benefit for the self, before he can arrive at that stage. This means that he must pass through selfishness in order to arrive at unselfishness. You might say, 'The world is full of people working for the self;' but those have not realized what is the real benefit of the self. That which gives a momentary pleasure, a pleasure that lasts a few days, is no benefit for the self. To abuse another gives a pleasure for a moment; it is not of real benefit to the self. Those actions are not even selfish actions, they are foolish: the intelligence has not understood what the self is.


checked 30-nov-2015